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TECHNOLOGY

France legalises 30,000 banned Internet domain names

French Internet authorities have been swamped by demands for domain names since a new law authorised the use of around 30,000 previously banned website addresses such as "islam.fr" and "internet.fr".

The decree authorising the new law was published on Wednesday, and French authorities say they now have to deal with over 6,000 requests that have been made since the law was passed a month ago.

France’s constitutional court in October ruled the 2004 law banning the use of the French words for such terms as xenophobia, Satan, mosque, slave, Jew, brothel, church, cannabis and business was unconstitutional.

“More than 6,100 requests have been made,” since July 1, Mathieu Weill of the French Association for Internet Naming and Cooperation (AFNIC) told AFP.

“By far the most sought after are terms like ‘internet.fr‘, ‘url.fr‘ and ‘entreprise.fr‘ (business),” Weill said.

Anyone who can demonstrate a “legitimate interest” and was the first to put in a request since the new law came into effect will get the domain name they want.

For sensitive names such as those of religions, an applicant can be refused because of the risk of “disturbing public order,” Weill said.

The law’s decree also says that offices receiving requests for domain names should tell the government immediately “of requested or registered domain names that are obviously illicit or against public order.”

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LIVING IN FRANCE

France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier

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